Corrado Sgura is an Italian composer and guitarist celebrating the release of his latest album, Mirage, a contemporary selection of music with five original compositions and two well known standards, "Yesterdays" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive." Sgura is accompanied here by an all Italian crew consisting of monster saxophonist Sal Rosselli, Francesco Angiuli on bass and Antonio Di Lorenzo on drums. While having a recent release date, the album was actually recorded in November of 2003 and mixed in January 2004.
Sgura takes center stage on Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays" laying down some crisp and beautiful chords on electric guitar. This tune is all Sgura as he showcases his mastery of the instrument. The opening track "Toll Road" is a lively upbeat melody in which saxophonist Rosselli contributes torrid solos eventually interrupted by Sgura's guitar. This is followed by "April," a truly wonderful chart by Sgura that has a soft and mellow feel that features Rosselli on another exquisite voicing of the sax while the leader ways in with some chord changes of his own. "Moonlight Waltz" seems to kick in where "April" leaves off in another serving of mellow magic from Sgura.
All is not mellow, however, as the band turns hot and funky on "Across The Funky," a loud and fast-paced track with a funky, boppish flavor containing a steamy collaboration between Rosselli and Sgura. The Bossa Nova tinged "How Insensitive" was never played with such sensitivity as the way Sgura treats this Jobim classic, a beautiful piece of music.
Not being familiar with Mr. Sgura, I did not quite know what to expect and after only one listen, I was pleasantly surprised. Mirage is one impressive session of contemporary jazz by a fine quartet anchored by a talented jazz guitarist that makes an elegant statement. An offering of new and engaging musical expressions marked by first-rate musicianship. I can only wonder why we haven't heard more from this new Italian stallion.